First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m the creator of Toccata. My name is Michi Calica-Sotto, and I have been designing wedding dresses for 18 years now. I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and went to an exclusive girls school.
I come from a family of seven daughters – all are excelling in their own creative fields. I have a sister who is an internationally published novelist, another one who is a director, and another one who is a beauty editor in an international fashion magazine. My father and mother were serial entrepreneurs (in the travel business, real estate, restaurant business, germent exporting).
I have been traveling to Japan since I was three – my grandfather used to live there. I was very influenced by the unique and elegant Japanese style in my earlier design years. My parents would take all of us daughters to spend summers and Christmas in the heart of Tokyo, these were indeed very happy memories of my childhood. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called Ginza Marunouchi every time we would visit.
In 1993, I won the Carolina Herrera International Fashion Design Scholarship at the Art Institue Of Seattle. I was told that I beat 107 other students from 47 countries. Then in 1995 – I won a citation award at the Jeunes Createurs de Mode in Paris. The competition was held in the Louvre too!
Currently I have branched out from wedding apparel to wedding jewelry and wedding flowers. My online store Toccata paved the way for me to sell my works of art in an international platform – and it is my baby. Additionally, more info about my work can be found on my other website.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I started making jewelry in 2008. My bridal apparel needed jewelry to complete the look, so designing jewelry for my bridal gowns was a very organic process. I have been an avid collector of South Sea pearls for fifteen years now. So my freshwater pearls are dead ringers of the South Sea pearls.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I found Etsy in 2008. Two of my sisters are successful Etsyers. Rina from Ne w Zealand sells interesting jewelry at her store at Nostalgems. Pinky from Singapore sells crochet bikinis at Verao.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
I like the fact that people who put a premium on handmade pieces convene at Etsy. I also love the fact that I am in such wonderful artistic company at etsy. I totally love shopping at etsy! I have found a lot of very original, handmade pieces here. Because of Etsy, a bridal boutique owner discovered my shop. Now I am exporting my pieces to Texas!
What I like about this site is that it is easy to mange and maneuver. I love the layout and the romance of my shop Toccata.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
What inspires me are pleasurable experiences. Listening to beautiful things, having a good dish, a lovely cocktail or after a trip abroad or a family vacation at one of our Philippine beaches, I am always recharged and bursting with new ideas.
I must also have my alone time to care for myself – I go to the spa to have a Thai massage, have a facial at this fab Korean facialist’s spa, and visit the nail spa often. I believe that when I take care of myself I have more to give, and even more reason to be inspired. I am also a mother of three daughters – the joy they give me is enough to inspire me.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
The White Orchid Bolero is my fave piece at my Toccata store. It is also the most time consuming to make and is my best seller! It is such a soft, romantic piece. I must have sold a hundred pieces of these.
With the jewelry it is my 5mm round pearl necklace, It is very difficult to come by these almost perfectly round pearls that have a beautiful luster. it is also my bestselling piece of jewelry.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
My main objective of having this online shop Toccata is that I wanted people from all over the world to enjoy my pieces. I was praying that one day I would start exporting my pieces wholesale, and true enough it happened last month!
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
Yes I am excited about my new pieces in the works. I have my dangling pearl earrings, my dainty freshwater pearl studs, and my very forgiving asymmetrical dress in pure linen.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and possible special offers (including additional websites, blogs, facebook, etc)?
You may find my Toccata pieces here all over the internet! There is my Etsy shop, my Facebook fan page, my blog, my other website, and the Sisters on Style site.